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[Special Report] Is there a limit to the stars' guarantees?

2008/02/28 Source

Recently, the Minister of Culture and Arts, Yoo In-Chun's private property was revealed to be over 14 billion-won. Some said that he had gained too much wealth, but he thinks otherwise. He said, "These are all from my 30 years of acting career. Some may think I have too much private wealth, but look at Bae Yong-joon".

How much would the stars be paid? Recently, the guarantees of the Korean Waves stars' moved to around 50 million-won (~$US 50,000) for every drama episodes. The following article investigated the skyrocketing increases in the stars' guarantees.

At this very moment, the guarantees in the film industry remained relatively constant since 2005~2006. Even though, the stars get paid few billion-wons for every film, it's relatively slow increase compare to the geometric progression in the guarantees of the Korean Waves stars.

On top of that, as the Korean film industry had few downturns and the reduction in the production fees came about, some sensible actors reduced their guarantees to ease the situation. For example, the top star, Cha Seung-won halved his guarantee when he appeared in "My Son" last year; and Kim Hye-soo asked much lower than her usual standard in "Eleventh Mom". Lately Lee Na-young reduced her guarantee in the Director Kim Ki-duk's low-profit film "Dream" and Park Eun-hye appeared in the Director Hong Sang-soo's "Night and Day" without any payments.

The experts say this practice of finding the 'sensible amount of performance fee' between the stars and the production crew will continue for sometime.

However, the fierce competition between the stars for the highest guarantee still continues. Because their guarantee is directly linked to the star's power and influences. And furthermore, it is an indicator of their popularity and a source of their pride.

According to the experts, the guarantees of the 'A+' movie top stars are around 0.5 billion (~$US 500,000) to 0.55 billion-won (~$US 550,000). This standard had not changed since 2006, which had the peaked success in the Korean film industry.

The 'A+' category includes top actors such as Song Kang-ho and Sol Kyung-gu. These actors worth their high guarantees because they have high naming values as well as making a strong appeal to the audiences. The Korean Waves stars such as Lee Byung-hun,, Bae Yong-joon and Jung Woo-sung, also receives around 0.5 billion-won and are categorised as the 'A+' group. They may not receive as much, in terms of the actual amount of the guarantees, but they possess a great potential in success in the overseas countries and other additional business, which make them the no.1 choice by many film directors. This group includes Cha Seung-won, Jung Joon-ho, Hwang Jung-min and Lee Jung-jae. In particular, Hwang Jung-min had the most rapid increase in his guarantee ever since the hit of "You are my Sunshine" in 2005.

The next category includes stars such as kwon Sang-woo, Song Seung-heon, Cho Seung-woo and Baek Yoon-sik, who receive around 0,4 billion-won (~$US 400,000). kwon Sang-woo and Song Seung-heon have not yet proved their power in the film industry but they are at the top ranks as the popular Korean Waves stars. Both received 4 billion-won guarantee in their upcoming film, "Fate", which is due release next month.

Among the female actors, Lee Young-ae, Kim Hye-soo, Jeon Do-yeon, Jang Jin-yeong, Jun Ji-hyun and Ha Ji-won are at the top of the list, whose guarantees are around 0.4 billion-won (~$US 400,000). The guarantees of other top female stars, like Kim Jung-eun, Choi Ji-woo and Song Hye-kyo is around 0.35 4 billion-won (~$US 350,000 - ~$US 400,000). Kim Jung-eun and Choi Ji-woo once were the highest-paying actresses, but as their films had low success, their guarantees have dropped a little.

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